When you surrender to the flow of life’s magic, the universe can create opportunities so much better than you could have even imagined, all on your behalf.Read More
We took the train from Lisbon to Porto, making our way to Sweet Porto, where we could call home for the next few days. The weather had gone from record breaking heat only a week ago in Madrid, to gloomy and grey.
My body took is as a que to slow down and rest. With the rain, and my lack of any warm articles of clothing, when I wasn’t teaching a yoga class for the guests at the hotel, I was enjoying the very European balcony and view from our room, sipping port wine and nibbling on strawberries.
Sweet Porto Apartments was centrally located on a main avenue lined with shops, cafes and restaurants. I stayed in the Bloom House, which is more like a guest house concept, and we definitely felt at home!
If you find yourself in the old city of Porto, make sure to check out Nola Kitchen! “NOLA” is short for no labels! This restaurant offers straightforward, clean and delicious food. No additives, just real food, from the farm to the table to you!
Next stop, back to Barcelona where I will be painting a mural! S T A Y T U N E D.
Arriving in Lisbon was like walking around the Europe that I imagined in my dreams. I wistfully meandered down winding cobblestone streets. The pastel colors came alive all around me and transported me back into another time. A time where one would intentionally get wonderfully lost, wander up a staircase, under an archway to stumble upon a cafe or a castle.
The variety of tiles that lined the facades of the buildings were enchanting. The uneven sidewalks, made up of stone, each one laid by hand, were sometimes steep and sometimes slippery, causing one to be that much more present. The occasional smell of salt on the breeze was a welcome treat from the sea.
We stayed at the Vintage Lisbon, a mid century design dream. Everything was curated perfectly, from the brass mobile in the lobby, to the archways, dusty pink accents and gold light fixtures. The bar cart was thoughtfully stocked, there was a rooftop bar, and a sauna and spa that was to die for. I only have an abundance of positive things to say about my experience staying at the Vintage, and I will list as many as I possibly can, here, for you, now.
First of all, our room was PINK. I think they knew how much I would appreciate it and placed me specifically here so I could enthusiastically share with you now. Arches for the doorways, natural light, exquisite views of the city, and a playful combination of vintage and modern that was both uplifting and bold.
Breakfast was a divine spread of meats and cheeses and honey comb and yogurts and fruits and croissants. I loved spending the first few moments of the day on the patio, sipping my coffee, wondering how many cafes I can visit in one day…
I had the pleasure of having the rooftop deck to practice yoga all to myself, a vibey space usually reserved for those grabbing a glass of vino verde while overlooking the neighborhood..
If you are looking for a place to spend your time in Lisbon, I could not more highly recommend The Vintage.
My favorite part of being in a new city is scouring for the best cafes and I am so happy I fell madly, and deeply in love with Comoba.
Located near the water, we returned to this cafe 3 out of the 4 days we were in town!
We tried as many things on the menu as we could, including the chia seed pudding, breakfast bowls, smoothies, coffees, juices, matcha lattes, and each treat was better than the last. Writing this now makes me wish I could go back and eat there every day.
I’m so grateful I get to share my travels with you all. Lisbon, or Lisboa - if you know to call it that, was not a place that was on a dream travel list, but it quickly made its way to my favorite places list. It’s culture and old world charm are now being sprinkled with high vibe cafes, restaurants and hotels. I spent hours and hours getting lost through those streets and I would definitely recommend it to any of you curious travelers.
Stay tuned for my next post on Porto!
I’ve been traveling my entire life, and more so in recent years. As someone who has grown into a deep appreciation for all things organizational and an even deeper appreciation for anything that makes me feel prepared, I wanted to share with you my top 5 travel essentials!
1. PACKING CUBES: Ok guys, I am obsessed with these things. It makes it so so easy to organize your items, and be able to dig through your suitcase without destroying it completely. It makes packing & unpacking so much easier and a I just can’t recommend these things enough.
2. NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES: You never know who else is going to be sharing the plane ride with you - from crying babies to snoring ladies - nothing adds more agony to being confined in a flying tube than having to listen to unwanted noise over the sound of the rom'-coms' you’re trying so desperately to enjoy. Once I got myself a pair of noise cancelling headphones, there was NO going back to weak ass ear buds.
3. REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE: I can’t stress this one enough. We all know that every plastic water bottle we’ve ever drinker out of still exists, and you have the ability to reduce your impact. Not only that, but airports have water fountains and restaurants that will fill your bottle for free, saving you an inflated rate of $5 a bottle or more!! Save money, and the environment, its a win/ win!
4. EYE MASK: Another thing I do not travel without! Use a sleep mask (& ear plugs) to acclimate to different time zones, and create the perfect conditions for a deep sleep. I like a soft silk one, like the one linked below!
5. HAND SANITIZER: Let’s be real, who knows how clean air planes are, or airport bathrooms, or the little pull down trays… I’m not a huge germaphobe, but it definitely gives me a great sense of comfort to have some hand sanitizer handy. I like this lavender one from EO, its organic, and the lavender smell is a refreshing change from the stale plane air.
What are your top 5 travel essentials? Obviously I travel with more than just these items, but I definitely don’t get on a plane without them.
CLICK HERE for all of my travel necessities, from the cutest assortment of luggage, to an array of travel utensils, reusable water bottles, passport holders and more.
This post is in partnership with the Aruba Tourism Authority.
If you’re looking for your next travel destination that is deeply fulfilling on a mind, body and soul level, then look no further than the one happy island of Aruba.
A true paradise, this island is lined with powdery white sand beaches, deeply turquoise waters, as well as a rocky mountain terrain and hidden natural gems, all waiting to be discovered by you!
Every June, Aruba celebrates its diverse wellness offerings with their Aloe Awareness month, and I am so excited to be able to share my experience on this idyllic island with you all.
We arrived late at night and the friendly people of the island helpfully guided us until we arrived to our resort, Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa. Recognized as Aruba’s #1 wellness resort, Manchebo’s oceanfront Spa del Sol is an intimate and inviting open-air oasis designed to inspire a lifelong pursuit of health and wellness.
First thing in the morning, after a coffee of course, we took a pilates class in the oceanfront, open air studio on the resort property. Their complimentary daily Yoga and Pilates classes energize and activate the body through movement. There is nothing quite like moving your body after a long day of travel, especially when you get to feel the warm ocean breeze cooling you down during class!
After a nap on the beach (my body was acclimating from too many time zones to keep track of), my friend, Lucette, and I prepared for our a sunset sail with Pelican Adventures.
The boat cruised across the teal waters as the sky transformed itself into a canvas of deep orange with purple and pink clouds floating peacefully above. It was the most serene ending to a beautiful day.
The next morning, we made our way to Vela Sports Aruba where we took a SUP yoga class! Vela is all about that beach culture, offering every adventure under the sun! Splash in the water, explore the island by bike, or relax on the beach, Vela is here to make your time in Aruba everything you dreamt paradise would be.
Although it took infinitely more presence and core strength to do even the simplest of poses on top of a stand-up paddle board, there is nothing quite like savasana under the sun, while being rocked gently by the ocean underneath you. I instantly became one with the hypnotic ripples, which carried all of my stress out to sea, leaving me rejuvenated and inspired!
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but the clear turquoise waters are the most gorgeous I have ever seen in my travels across the world, and being able to roll off of the paddle board and into the refreshing ocean after class left a beaming smile across my face all day long.
On our last day, we took a UTV tour of the island with Kini Kini Transfers & Tours. I was a little nervous at first, but it was so fun and adventurous! I was pleasantly surprised to discover the diversity of the landscape of this island. We traversed through the mountainside to discover some of the culture and history - like visiting the first ever church of Aruba, as well as an abandoned gold mine. We saw natural bridges, endless cacti, and natural pools.
After traveling 20+ hours from the craziness of Vietnam to the gloom of Los Angeles, I cannot express just how much my heart and soul needed the natural beauty and joy that this island had to offer. I left my time on Aruba feeling reinvigorated, rejuvenated, and insurmountably inspired. My only regret is that I didn’t stay longer!
Aruba has so much to offer to help you relax, however you want to. Wellbeing is synonymous with healthy-living, and Aruba's amazing experiences promise to help improve mental and physical health not just while you're here, but long after you've returned home. From yoga - whether on the beach or a paddle board, to relaxing boat rides, or off roading and exploring for the more adventurous travelers, you are sure to have a deeply fulfilling and unforgettable wellness experience.
I woke up in a cloud. We are situated on top of the highest peaks of all of Indo-Chine, a stone’s throw away from the border of China.
We were picked up at 7am in a luxury van, equipped with reclining seats and wifi. The drive was 5 hours from Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, a winding drive up the international highway and through the escalating mountain roads.
We arrived at Topas Eco Lodge by noon, and I was immediately stunned by the sprawling views of this epic eco lodge. I thought Hoi An was a quiet escape from the city, until I was immersed in the peaceful and nurturing orchestra of nature. Residing, even temporarily, in this serenity was deeply healing on a soul level.
Greeted with tea and caramelized ginger, we eagerly (& hungrily) made our way to the restaurant to eat lunch and check in. The staff provided us with a beautiful wooden reusable water bottle, to reduce their impact on the environment. (click HERE to see how Topas has made social and environmental responsibility the backbone of their resort) The toiletries that are usually left in hotels rooms, only to be tossed away, were in a basket at the front desk, to take only if needed, again reducing their impact on the lush environment this hotel is nestled in.
As the morning fog dissipated, the warmth of the sun illuminated the depth and expansiveness of this place. There is a vibrance, an aliveness, everywhere I look. Butterflies of every color and size dance across the flowers, twirling around dragonflies and blue bumblebees. There are goats that roam the property, and yes, friendly enough for me to pet them and sit with them, because goats. Chickens also wander freely, clucking happily.
The mountains fade into the clouds, creating a landscape of their ombre silhouettes. I am so at peace.
Every dish we ate at Topas was fresh, herbaceous, colorful, flavorful and packed with ingredients grown in their very own garden. Every meal was such a delight!
The infinity pool was liquid heaven, a mirror of the ever changing sky. The tranquil waters are surrounded by rice terraces high in the mountains with never ending views, making it the most divine place to reconnect with yourself and nature.
The 2 days we spent there went by far too quickly, but the peace I experienced stayed with me long after checking out.
I can’t speak highly enough of the service, the staff, the understated beauty of the rooms, the awe-inspiring views, the warm pool that felt like one was swimming in the clouds, and the delicious food.
This eco-lodge is even awarded most unique stay by National Geographic, and for good reason - it is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.
I truly hope that you take the adventurous ride into the mountains to experience this once in a lifetime beauty.
This quaint town was exactly what I needed. I’m only sad we were not able to stay longer. Even 5 days is not enough to explore the rich history and culture of this UNESCO world heritage site.
The walls are a golden turmeric color, and the trees drip in colorful silk lanterns.
Although it seems one can not escape the honking of horns anywhere in Vietnam, it is noticeably quieter. (thank goodness) There is more space. More room for nature. We are both near the beach and surrounded by rice paddies.
We stayed at Zen Boutique Villas - a small boutique hotel, just outside of Ancient town. It was walking distance to coffee shops, as well as a gym that had a delicious juice & smoothie bar. I find it incredibly important to keep moving regularly, it helps keep me grounded while traveling so much.
One souvenir I treated myself to in Hoi An was a new tattoo! A sweet cherub now forever links me to this place I hold so dearly to my heart. We found an incredibly talented artist who was excited to work with us. His shop was clean & cool, and he was professional and priced very fairly. Check out his page here.
One of my favorite experiences was the cooking tour with took with Thuan Tinh Tours - I hope all these cooking lessons will turn me into something of an international chef! We were picked up at our villa at 8am, and shuttled to the local market to gather our ingredients for the dishes we would be cooking later. Our guide, Trang, was knowledgeable and offered us insights into each of the ingredients and vendors. We collected herbs and greens and noodles and protein and eggs and spices, weaving in and around the locals all getting their supplies as well.
We then took a peaceful boat ride down the river to their secluded private island where our food preparation was held.
These hats were a lifesaver under the hot Vietnamese sun.
We made 4 dishes in total - pho, spring rolls, crispy pancake (my new favorite dish) and beef and noodle salad - learned how to make rice milk from scratch, and I even learned how to flambé! It was equal parts terrifying and thrilling.
The food of Vietnam is an important part of their heritage and culture. You can taste the history and the passion for freshness and flavor in each unique dish. I highly recommend taking the time to immerse yourself in this way, it has proven to be more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.
If you want to take the same class that I did - use this code for a discount!
WHERE TO EAT IN Hội An
Located down a quaint alley (let’s be real, all of the alleyways are quaint here), this sunflower yellow cafe is known for its unique coffee creations. I had the “Dark Soul,” an activated charcoal latte, while my boyfriend ordered the ice cube coffee. It came as a glass filled with coffee ice cubes and a vial of hot steamed milk which was to be poured over the coffee cubes until they melted.
this garden cafe is top rated in Hoi An. I tried my first egg coffee here, indulging in a coconut syrup and condensed milk sugar bomb. I don’t think I’ll order one again, but I’m glad I tried it!
According to Anthony Bourdain, this is the best banh mi in all of Vietnam, and he was correct! As you can tell from the absolute state of bliss I am in in the photo above, this banh mi was everything you want it to be. The bread was the perfect combination of crispy and soft, and the fillings surprised you with layers and layers of flavor.
This proved to be one of my favorite places to eat, as I insisted upon having a second meal here just the next day. The vermicelli wrapped spring rolls and the crispy pancake are dishes I will forever dream about. We ended up trying most things on the menu because the prices are so affordable and well everything was delicious.
I loved the french influence of this little cafe. We stopped here for an afternoon coffee, and by this time the temperate had risen enough for me to treat myself to a frozen vanilla frappe. It did not disappoint.
A farm-to-table restaurant in the heart of Tra Que herb village, offering a fresh take on local favorites as well as comfort food, like stuffed chicken wing (stuffed with herbs and sticky rice!) Their team works closely with organic farmers from local communities. We had dinner here and only regrettably did not return for a second meal at this beautiful restaurant during the day so that we could see its surrounding farms.
This is a town I could truly see myself not only returning to, but happily living in. There is everything that brings me joy, from a beach, to ample yoga studios, healthy and vibrant food, and infinite alley ways I could get lost in forever.
Hội An, I will be back for you soon.
The streets are littered with cigarette butts, bottle caps and a questionable amount of discarded shoes. There’s a lingering smell of pho in the air, and not more than 3 seconds pass before another horn abruptly blares. It is not uncommon for cockroaches to scuttle under your feet and the sidewalks are reliably uneven. Scooters dominate this city, swarming the roads, and even driving on sidewalks without hesitation.
My senses have been stimulated to say the least, but it’s in the contrast that we know ourselves better. Being here affirms my love (and deep appreciation) for tranquility, space and quiet.
We rented an air bnb, inconveniently, but charmingly located on the 7th floor of a building sans elevator. To say we got our steps in every day would be an understatement - but the view and rewarding breeze at the top made the treck worth it every time. The space itself was beyond pleasing to my aesthetic - the clean, minimal and bright studio served as a welcome contrast to the chaos just below - if a building wasn’t dilapidated, it was under construction.
As I aim to do in every new city, we walked until our legs gave out, stopping at the cutest cafes we could find (with great thanks to recommendations from all of you) along the way.
The French introduced coffee to the Vietnamese during its occupation, and it has since become deeply engrained in their culture.
CAFES OF SAIGON:
this might be one of my favorite cafes I’ve visited, not only in Vietnam, but all across the globe! It’s dusty pink and serenity colored walls, with uniquely shaped windows and light fixtures were as satisfying as the shakshuka and lattes. 2 hours and 4 coffees later and I still wanted to stay.
Godmother Bake & Brunch:
the design was the perfect mix of mid century & modern, with emerald green velvet chairs, arched doorways (I am a sucker for rounded doorways) and cacti to boast. I had a matcha latte and a smoothie bowl topped with... honeycomb!! A sweet & crispy crunch. Mmm.
The Workshop Coffee:
this industrial coffee shop is located up 3 flights of winding stairs, and offers a wide array of coffee making techniques. It was masculine in design, but a haven for any coffee conasieur.
subway tiles, Edison bulbs, white brick walls, and exposed pipes made up this French cafe. A 2 story building allowed for a chic boutique downstairs with a sprawling cafe upstairs.
Ben Thanh Street Food Market:
a Collection of stalls and street art, this street food market is a MUST in Ho Chi Minh. Sample a dish from each vendor, from vermicelli wrapped chicken to bao buns to banh mi.
this was the true highlight of our trip to Saigon. Tucked away in an unassuming alley, this sushi restaurant only has 6 seats at an omakase style bar. It is not recommended for the budget traveler, as you can only choose between 2 menus at either 3 million or 4 million dong. Add some sparkling sake & few beers later, our bill was over $400, but for the intimate experience, and the obvious passion and craft of the chefs, it was well worth the cost. I lost count of how many courses there were, and by the end, I only wished I had the ability to rewind time so I could enjoy it all over again.
Refreshing, fresh, and delicious! There was such a wide array of ingredients to choose from, and amid all of the hot broth, it was a cool treat to enjoy this yummy poke bowl. Everything from quail eggs to pickled cabbage, I highly recommend this little hidden gem. Plus the inside immediately transported me back to Bali vibes! It is full of the aloha spirit.
With all of the eating we did, it was imperative to find a proper gym. I could not recommend any place more than Saigon Sports Club. It’s facilities were clean, with options for extensive gym equipment (why I chose to do 20 minutes on the stair machine even though we were staying on the 7th floor is beyond me) saunas, steam rooms, and a variety of fitness classes, including Muy Thai, yoga and a pool.
The yoga classes I took there were some of the best I’ve ever taken. The sequencing was dynamic and challenging and made me realize how much more flexible I used to be. I’ll let it serve as motivation to commit to and deepen my practice once more.
About halfway through class, we were turned to face the back wall, which was lined with a series of photographs of yogis, some of whom I recognized. And right in front of me... could it be... a photo of... myself!?! I honestly couldn’t believe it, and almost wondered if I was making it up. It was both a humbling and a very proud moment for me. What are the odds, that I would travel across the world only to find myself?
Oh and I happened to be staying across the street from a boutique named MIKI!!
While this city was nothing short of stimulating, I’m reieved to be writing this from 30,000 feet in the air on our way to Hoi An. Stay tuned as we explore central Vietnam’s world heritage city next!
Mostly we just needed to get out of LA.
I’ve always wanted to travel, free of rent, of the heaviness of things, of being tied down to one place. I wanted the world to feel like home.
I dipped my toe into the nomadic lifestyle last summer, traveling to Hawaii, Tulum, and Jamaica for a few months of blissful, tropical freedom. But I quickly fell into the ‘security’ of routine. The ‘safety’ of home.
A man came into my life that urged me to break free of my self-imposed chains. We freed each other and most importantly, ourselves.
We came to Thailand to train muy thai. To ride motorbikes around the dense jungle island. To drink coconuts and eat smoothie bowls. To just be.
After months and months of living for everyone else, I finally felt like I was enjoying my life for ME.
We started our trip at Saturday’s Residence. I found it on Air Bnb, and it was definitely a soft landing and a luxurious beginning to our travels.
Our serviced apartment came with maid service twice a week, 2 gorgeous pools, a gym, sauna, and even a cafe and yoga studio on the property.
We even had a bathtub on our balcony! Although we didn’t use it during the two weeks we were there - next time!
After being in a complex for a few weeks, I was craving some privacy. So I rented a villa nearby. It was an absolute haven and I was just so creatively inspired, I haven’t been able to stop creating content since we left LA.
We did our best to explore as many beaches as we could, try out as many cafes as possible, and just cruise around immersing ourselves into island life!
One of the highlights of our trip was getting to do a cooking class at Mangosteen Resort. We cooked 4 dishes in total - Pad Thai, Shrimp in a Sarong, Tom Kha Soup, and Stir Fry with Cashews. I highly recommend taking a cooking class while traveling! We also got a little taste of their Ayurvedic Spa, and had the oil head massage treatment which was divine.
I also spent the month practicing and training muy thai at AKA Thailand. It was one of the most challenging and most rewarding experiences! I could barely keep up (holy cardio) during the first class, but now I am craving those combos and absolutely love practicing my kicks and punches!! The facilities were sparkling clean, the staff was talented, friendly and funny, and I felt like SUCH a badass by the end of it.
Of course the massages were unreal, and so inexpensive that YES we were getting multiple massages a week, especially with all of the training! I am sore just thinking about it.
One of my favorite things to do when I go to new places is to EAT & although my boyfriend mostly cooks for us every night, we did find a few favorite places.
WHERE TO EAT IN PHUKET
༓ The Shack: Healthy options like paleo pancakes (pictured above) and yummy smoothie options with lots of superfoods.
༓ Burger Me: One of the best burgers I’ve honestly ever eaten. 10/10 recommend!
༓ Unni’s Restaurant: Conveniently located right next to the beach, and their menu had a ton of options including bowls and very fresh traditional thai dishes.
༓ One Chun: In Old Town, this local spot usually has a wait its so delicious. We tried the crab curry as recommended on TripAdvisor and honestly every bite of every dish we ate was incredibly delicious. A little fancier than the other spots I mentioned above & 100% worth checking out.
༓ Other mentionables - The Wine Cellar at Mangosteen Resort & Spa, Coffee Tribe, Origami Cafe.
Although we stayed in Rawai, which is in the southern part of the island, it was fun to venture to Old Town and see other parts of Phuket. I would definitely recommend staying in Rawai if you are looking for a more authentic experience - the other areas, like Patong, were extremely tourist driven and crowded and just notttt my vibe. But you know, its good to experience a little bit of it all anyways.
BEACHES OF PHUKET
Although we didn’t get a chance to explore every beach, we did go to our fair share and here are my faves:
༓ Freedom Beach: This one is a treasure because it is so hard to get to. We rode the motorbike up a dirt hill, climbed under a chain link fence, and down about 300 steep steps to a very remote beach. It was in a cove (pictured above) and there were only a handful of other people there. I will say that as remote of a location as it was, there was still a devastating amount of plastic water bottles. It was heartbreaking, but even so, one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been to.
༓ Nai Harn: This was the beach that we spent the most time at. It was easy to get to, quiet, with some rocks for exploring, and pockets of shade. The waves never got too big, so it was always enjoyable to leisurely swim in the warm waters.
༓ Ya Nui: I refer to this as Pirate’s Cove Beach because it feels like there must be some buried treasure hidden somewhere along this little beach. It is small, and a bit more rocky, but unlike any place I’ve been before!
༓ Karon Beach: One of the biggest beaches in Phuket, we often found ourselves being the only ones here (also it was low season, so that could be completely different during peak months). The waves did get pretty big at some points, but we found ourselves returning more than a few times.
The month went by far too quickly, and I definitely miss the slow paced lifestyle we enjoyed, as I write this post from the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
I will definitely be back and could see myself even living there for a few months out of the year.
Keemala was born out of the honoring of four clans of Phuket, Thailand. From the Earth Clan to the Sky Clan, these native tribes were the inspiration for the design of the unique architecture seen throughout these luxury villas.
We arrived before noon and got an opportunity to peek into a few of the different villa styles, each equipped with its own private pool and epic view.
The finishes were modern with an ode to the artistry of Thailand, marrying the deeply rooted culture of this country.
After window shopping through these luxury villas and touring the grounds (including a meditation cave situated under a waterfall), we headed to the artistically crafted restaurant for lunch.
Our meal was vibrant and flavorful with beautiful presentations. We ordered traditional Thai dishes and were mesmerized by the patterns of the walls and the exploding herbs and spices of the food.
We hit the pool next, to digest our lunch before being pampered at the spa.
We had the entire space to ourselves, including the enchanting waterfall pictured below.
We were ushered to the spa, welcomed with a hibiscus juice and led to our own nest like pod. It was cool and dark, with its own sauna and bath tub for the ultimate relaxing experience.
I’ve never had a seaweed wrap, but I won’t deny any 2 hour massage, even it if means being temporarily wrapped in a warm and slimy sea grass. I know, they’re full of nutrients and absolutely wonderful for the skin.
Hot stones and aromatherapy were also included in our spa experience and the women who treated us were sweet and nurturing.
I would undoubtedly come back and stay here again, and cannot wait to experience these enchanting canopy villas again and pay homage to the stories, cultures, traditions and lifestyles of ancient Phuket.
These rustic, yet lavish cottages, nests, villas and even 2-story houses lived up to our expectation and more.
CLICK HERE to book your stay at Keemala today.
The architecture of the hotel was visually stunning. With curves and lines that cast shadows that drew you in. Around every corner was mystery and understated grandeur.
We were, of course, supplied with as much collagen as we could possibly use during our weekend getaway.
& you already know my undying love for coffee concoctions.
There were pools upon pools, all of varying sizes and depths. I was reminded of the same visual feeling I had while watching Blade Runner.
We went to Flora Farms to experience an amazing farm to table meal - that we cooked ourselves!
My favorite part was the gorgeous sunsets. The color of the sky was practically edible!
A joyous return to one of my favorite countries for both work & play.
What a beautiful life experience I get to participate in.
Chari of ByChari invited me to her home country to celebrate her birthday as well as shoot a campaign for her jewelry line. Jamaican Riviera.
We stayed at Port Antonio, also known as ‘Porti,’ doing yoga, taking boats around to different islands, drinking copious amounts of white rum and eating our faces off.
Pictured above is a ‘patti,’ which is similar to an empanada, and is dough stuffed with either meat or cheese, sometimes both!
After spending 10 days on the emerald waters, we road tripped to Kingston to see Strawberry Hill. Poised in the peaks of Jamaica’s mountains, the views are vast and this place once served as inspiration for legendary rock stars and music legends like Bob Marley.
Above I am lounging on my favorite beach towel designed by Gilded Arrow, ethically made of course.
The vibes are palpable here. Tulum is just so cool. In every way.
The design. The decor. The consciousness. The hotels. The people. The fashion. The food.
This place is me.
I get to spend 3 weeks here this time - the longest yet.
I know I’ll live here one day; for a few months at the very least.
This trip begins with some of my best friends, Julio, Laina and Marielly. We have a week of play before our retreat begins. And then a week to recover afterwards. To fill ourselves back up.
Retreats are the most fulfilling aspect of my work, but take the most out of me. I give everything to my students.
Julio and I stayed at one of my favorite Air Bnb’s yet. It was not on the beach, but rather in the town, el pueblo. Minimalist perfection.
And the best part? It was close to my new go-to coffee shop, Prieto. (when you go, get their smoothie bowls - to die for.)
The second place we stayed was Una Vida, also on the jungle side - a beautiful, moroccan inspired retreat away from the business. Not that we stayed there much when there is so much to explore!
are underwater caves. I was told that when the meteor that hit earth and destroyed all of the dinosaurs landed in Tulum. It created all of these pockets of CO2 that later turned into theses pristine underwater caves.
This particular one was discovered on accident, some twenty years ago, by a man who was walking through the jungle and FELL. INTO. A. HOLE. about 30 feet down into a pitch black cave. It took him 6 hours to find a route to another cenonte where he made it out safely.
We also took a mini road trip to Coqui Coqui, which is one of the most stunning hotels (if you can even call it that) that I have ever seen. It reminds me of the villa that I stayed in in the south of Morocco. It’s an architectural masterpiece. The cobblestones, natural element, and elevated bridge make it feel as though its born of another era. I will definitely return here.
An instagrammer’s heaven. This picturesque hotel/ restaurant is breathtakingly gorgeous. From netted hangouts overlooking the vast jungle landscape, to ‘nests’ perched high atop the trees, the views are absolutely exquisite from every direction. They are, however, very strict with taking pictures and will most likely hassle you (unfortunately). But it’s worth checking out for some incredibly unique design inspiration!
It’s on the beach, a beautiful place to stay, with ocean front yoga, sound baths that will transport you to another dimension, and the best health conscious restaurant in Tulum! (strangely I have no photos of the food, must have been too busy eating it.)
SEMANA DOS: THE RETREAT
As always, our girls were divine. We spent the week diving into the intricacies of manifesting - what is it, how to apply it, and how to reprogram limiting beliefs to deliberately create the life you want to be living.
We did yoga, had soul chats, ate delicious food, and connected deeply with our selves and one another.
Now to introduce you all to one of the most intriguing/ captivating/ creative/ enlivening woman I’ve ever met.
Bibi gives a talk called, “Energetic Lovemaking 101.” I’d never heard of, or really understood, what Tantra was, until meeting Bibi. She opened my eyes to an entirely new experience - one of deep presence, connection, and fulfillment.
Watch her talk here. Trust me, if you have a partner, watch it together, and even if you don’t, watch it on your own. This woman and this information is radically transformational.
SEMANA TRES / CASA PUEBLO
A minimalist’s dream. A place I cannot wait to come back and spend more time in. This is where the locals come to hang out, sip a cafe, and get some work done.
Have you been to Tulum? If so, what are your favorite places to visit?
Its been about a week since I've been in Maui, and a week that I've been here in Tulum. Not a bad way to start off summer!
I spent so much time in my life visualizing myself traveling to tropical destinations, laying lazily in the sand, soaking up the sun, grazing my hand against oversized leaves and looking up at puffy clouds in the sky. But it wasn't until I started believing that I deserved to live this life that I dreamed of that I actually found myself doing just that.
I hadn't been to Hawaii for almost 10 years, or on a family vacation for about that long either. Growing up, my family used to go to Hawaii, more specifically, Maui, every summer. Its amazing how many memories can flood back into the forefront of your mind when you go back to a once familiar place, isn't it?
Upon arriving, while eating mahimahi tacos, looking out into the ocean, I felt a wave of anxiety wash over me. It was like I couldnt finish my meal quickly enough, and I had to get going so I could check my emails or didn't I have a meeting I needed to go to? I was in a bit of a frenzy with out a schedule, feeling like I wasn't being productive, or like I was somehow wasting time (don't even get my started on the reality of time!). Its funny how engrained in our society it is to associate busyness with success.
Like, hello!!! Success is sitting and eating lunch with my family, in Hawaii, overlooking the ocean. Duh!
All it takes is a little awareness and a shift in one's perspective to truly turn any situation or circumstance into one of appreciation, growth and accomplishment.
After a day or so, it became second nature to release my to-do's and read and write and walk down the beach instead of getting caught up in the whirlwind... you know the one.
I read an entire book that week! I haven't done that in ages!! I had the space to nearly complete my 1 Giant Mind teacher training! (woo!!) I worked out every morning, and got my family incredibly hooked on the bulletproof coffee that I made. Here are the ingredients:
- Ghee, 1 heaping tablespoon
- Coconut Oil, 1 heaping tablespoon
- Four Sigmatic Cordycepts (I usually throw in a ton of their products, but this is the only one I brought with me to Hawaii! I love their coffee, and reishi and hot cocoa too! They also have matcha if you don't drink coffee!!)
- Moon Juice Beauty Dust
- Vanilla, a dash
- Cinnamon, to taste
- Almond Milk (or whatever is your fave), a splash
Blend & enjoy!!
Besides relaxing, getting some work done, and walking through the village, I also taught a workshop at the Maui Yoga Shala. However, I was honestly so in the moment I didn't even take ANY photos!! It was so fun to meet some of my hawaiin babes in person, and to share my favorite thing in the world - juicy yoga and deep meditation!
We ate hula pie, and drank hibiscus margaritas while watching the sunset. Couldn't have been more perfect.
Tulum is unlike any other city I've been to in Mexico. Its a bohemian heaven. Its laid back cool, understated chic, and picture purrrrfect around every corner.
Aside from the fact that I'm a little OCD when it comes to packing, this is also my FOURTH trip to Tulum!
Here are my must haves and can't do withouts:
- Bug Spray & Afterbite : Admittedly, not the MOST glamorous way to start off this post, but I'm only doing this because I really care about you and your well-being, and there's nothing worse than looking like you've come down with a case of the chicken pox when you're taking those candid bikini selfies, am I right? Citronella oils + candles are a more wholistic approach to keeping mosquitos at bay, and *PRO TIP* drink a ton of tonic water & mosquitos wont even want to come near you. In a good way of course. (The quinine in it keeps them away!)
- Sun Hat : I love big, straw hats for shading my face when I'm reading by the ocean. I actually just got a very convenient for travel sun hat from L*Space Swim that rolls up (see here, or a less expensive version here), so you don't have to wear it through the airport / awkwardly on the airplane. Functional + Fashionable is a winning combination.
- Loose, Flowy Pants: I am very into the fact that loose pants are considered trendy right now. I am all about comfort FIRST. So pack your cotton and linen pants for an easy breezy outfit update. Wear with a cute bikini top and you're SET! I bought these off of amazon, and I'm in LOVE. Click here to shop.
- Bikinis!! : If you didn't know, I am obsessed with bathing suits. Don't know why, but I have always loved them. Some of my favorite styles of the moment are this, this & this. Its kind of insane how pricey they can be for such a little amount of fabric, but they are an investment. A good quality bathing suit is so worth the splurge to avoid camel toes and nip slips at all costs.
- Scarf / Bandana: This is always a travel must have for me. Great for wrapping yourself up on the plane, or using as a beach cover up, these seemingly simple pieces have a ton of versatility. You can wrap in your hair, or around the strap of your purse for an easy boho update to the simplest of outfits. Johnny Was has an amazing collection of silk scarves. (one is pictured below.)
- Sandals: One of my favorite parts about Tulum is the baby soft white sand. In all honesty, I aim to be barefoot as often as possible, but I recommend some slip on sandals, slides or flip flops. Reduce as much hassle as possible here - life is laid back by the beach! I just splurged on this pair. (pictured above)
You can find the round straw bag here, (I cut the strap off because I'm thrifty like that) and the white bag is admittedly a knock off of a Chloe purse, but I couldn't bring myself to spend $1k on a teeny purse so I bought this off of amazon instead. Find it here. Can you tell by now that I'm heavily reliant on amazon for all of my needs?
- Light jacket / Sweater: The temperature definitely drops at night, so bring either a light jacket, sweater or a few long sleeve options to layer.
Anything & everything bohemian flows here. Think kaftans, kimonos, and mumus. Sun dresses, cotton & linen button downs, sarongs and the like. Easy pieces that you can throw over a bathing suit and you're good to go. Even the fancier places are all casual enough to wear flip flops and shorts.
- Extras: Sunglasses are a must, as the hot sun reflects quite brightly off of the white sand! Sunscreen, lavender oil, journals, crystals and a small purse are some other essentials that help you take advantage of the magic Tulum has to offer. Sunscreen might not be initially thought of as magical, but try to enjoy your vacation when your skin is burnt to a crisp. Then you might feel differently about its magical properties. PS lavender oil is amazing for soothing burns & leaves you feeling like you've just stepped out of a spa.
Pictured above is a journal I bought from Anthropologie at the beginning of this year, but you can find a similar one here. The book I'm currently reading, Self Observation, is filled with insightful information. Its a little dense if you're not already interested in inner work & meditation, heads up!
If you've been following me for a while, you know how much I love & suggest the 5 Minute Journal. I use mine every day, and often gift them to my friends and loved ones.
And the cards on the right were pulled from my Goddess Cards deck. Its filled with positive and inspiring messages, and great as an intro deck. It was my first!
I feel so inspired by the color of the ocean, and the sound of the waves, as well as the kindness and hospitality that I always receive here. I like to bring a journal to jot down inspiration whenever it strikes.
Our journey began at 3am Saturday morning, not that I had slept much the night before. The excitement and anticipation was too much to keep my eyes closed.
3 flights and over 30 hours of flying/layovers later we arrived in one of my favorites cities in the world, Mykonos. Our travel was smooth, and although I barely slept, (that 10 hour flight from Philadelphia to Athens was the most brutal part.) I was so excited just to be there, that I didn't care.
As soon as we got to Portes, the first thing we did was change into our bathing suits and promptly proceeded to pass out on the sun beds by the pool. There's something about the Mediterranean sun that feels like the warmth of a loved one embracing you.
The hotel is chic and bohemian. The grounds are natural and sophisticated. The staff is welcoming, accommodating, friendly and kind. Its one of those places you feel like you've seen in a dream, or lived in in a past life. Its located on a hill, a few minutes drive from the airport (such a relief after aforementioned hours of travel) and walking distance to Mykonos town.
Last week I got invited by DIFF Eyewear to spend a few days on the central coast in one of my favorite towns, San Luis Obispo. We stayed at the iconic Madonna Inn, rode horses and dune buggies, drank wine, and of course, wore the best shades in the game.
Find out more about how DIFF is making a difference in the world with their Buy One Give One Program.
This place is so familiar to me, although I’ve never been here before. Maybe it’s the warmth, emanating from both the people, and the bright sun. Perhaps it’s the surplus of greenery that lines the dirt roads which takes me right back to when I lived in Costa Rica. Whatever it is, I am so happy to be here.
We spent the first 2 nights in Negril at The Cliff Hotel, and our days were nothing short of jam packed. There is so much to see, and never enough time.
Let me transport you through our day:
I woke up to the sun, and sleepily wandered onto my balcony to sit in the hammock chair and meditated to the sounds of the ocean. Refreshed, I grabbed a cup of coffee before yoga. We practiced on an open air yoga deck built on top of the rocky water’s edge. It was an intentional flow that left me feeling connected, grounded, and filled with gratitude.
Breakfast followed, where I ordered a traditional Jamaican dish, Ackee and Salt Fish. (had to try it once) We learned which local herbs and spices were used for healing and brewed into teas which we drank with breakfast overlooking the ocean. We had a few free hours before being whisked to the Rockhouse Hotel and Restaurant. What a feast! The food was mouthwateringly delicious. We indulged in lobster, whole snapper, kale salad, rice and peas, jerk chicken and jerk tofu.
Lunch was followed by a trip to the spa, where we started our treatments with a foot soak and scrub and a strong and slick massage. It was like we were walking through a dream, leaving the massage and right to an infinity pool that overlooked the ocean. The sky was amazing that day.
The clouds hung above the water with such presence. I wanted to hopscotch my way across them.
Post pool we wandered through the organic farm that our lunch was served from. It was lined with irie jamaican signs (pictured below) that made you take a second look. (Mostly to figure out what they actually said)
In no time, we were already behind schedule and scuttled back to the hotel to shower and change for dinner. We ate at a local restaurant, Murphy’s, which was just a few minutes walk from the Cliff.
Another indulgent meal of grilled Lobster, grilled shrimp, curried shrimp, devil chicken, brown stew fish, pumpkin mashed potatoes, bammy’s, festivals (traditional jamaican side dishes) french fries, and more rice and peas. And we ate it all. My full and happy belly couldnt get into bed fast enough.
The next day we we took the 2+ hour drive to Jake’s Hotel on Treasure Beach.
I loved seeing the stark difference of the two hotels. While Cliff is much newer and modern and sleek, Jake’s has a quirky charm influenced by Gaudi’s architecture in Barcelona. It was colorful in unexpected ways, with glass bottles built into much of the walls and furniture. Each of the bungalows had its own unique character, mine including a rooftop deck. There was an outdoor shower, equipped with a claw foot tub, and everything looked like it had been built with such respect for the natural landscape around it.
We spent our last day boating alongside the coastline, through the mangroves and amongst the crocodiles. Swimming in the turquoise Caribbean waters was just the refresher my soul needed to wrap up this quick trip.
Although it was just a few days, being in Jamaica reminded me to let go of the stresses that we unnecessarily carry with us, not to worry as much, and definitely to smile more! I slowed down, ate enough for 3 people, and was treated like VIP. Jamaica, I will be back for you again soon! Until next time mon...
To check out the places I mentioned above for yourself, see these links!
The initial reason we decided upon Morocco was because owners of Love Yoga, Kyle & Sian, were hosting a yoga retreat near Agadir, and we figured we could make an epic trip of it. (Notice there is no post on the retreat, because conditions were less than ideal, and that is all I'll say about that. Please note that the yoga was absolutely fantastic, and that I will most likely never return to Tagazhout.)
Thank goodness we arranged a stay at the Four Seasons Casablanca on our last night, to make up for what felt like mildly slumming it, only in comparison to our previously lavish accommodations. From the moment we entered the grandeur lobby of the Four Seasons, and walked out onto the balcony overlooking the ocean, I felt, once more, like the Moroccan Princess I always knew i was destined to be.
Medhi, the AHMAZING general manager was an absolute charmer. He was cordial and professional and sweet all at the same time. When you go, make sure to ask for him.
Although we only stayed for 1 night, (one night in Casablanca, doesn't it sounds so romantic? it was...) we made sure to enjoy it like the royalty we are manifesting to be. We enjoyed the brand new equipment in the gym, and soaked in the bathtub that could easily fit 3. We watched movies and ordered room service, and lounged by the pool. It was the perfect way to end our trip. We traveled to 6 cities in 2 weeks, and I would eagerly do it all again.